Transportation Minister Claire Trevena in the B.C. legislature, Oct 19, 2017 (Hansard TV)

Transportation Minister Claire Trevena in the B.C. legislature, Oct 19, 2017 (Hansard TV)

Greens renew call for action on ride sharing

Claire Trevena blasted as ‘minister of taxis’ for delay

B.C. Green Party leader Andrew Weaver continues to push the NDP government to take action on smartphone-based ride-sharing services, introducing his own bill in the B.C. legislature for the third time Thursday.

The B.C. Liberals, NDP and Greens all campaigned on allowing ride sharing services such as Uber and Lyft to operate in B.C., over the objections of taxi companies trying to modernize their own operations.

During question period in the legislature Thursday, NDP Transportation Minister Claire Trevena faced a barrage of questions and accusations. B.C. Liberal MLA Jas Johal addressed his questions to “the minister of taxis,” demanding to know why the NDP’s promise to introduce ride-sharing by the end of 2017 has been put off for up to a year.

Trevena has hired an Ottawa consultant to study the impact of ride sharing on a city like Vancouver, the last major city in North America to allow ride sharing, and other communities around the province. That report is due next spring.

Weaver’s latest attempt at legislation incorporates one of the issues raised by the other two parties, the need for a “level playing field” that includes additional vehicle insurance protection for private vehicle owners who want to hire themselves out as drivers.

Premier John Horgan said before Weaver’s latest bill was presented that it is unlikely a private member’s bill would be acceptable. Horgan said he now understands how complicated the issue is, with six pieces of legislation including a taxi law that dates back to the 1920s that would need to be amended.

Weaver rejected that argument, noting the oldest legislation was overhauled in the 1990s.

“ Now that all three parties have agreed to bring ride sharing to B.C., it’s time we had a frank and substantive debate on the details of the issue,” Weaver said.

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